God decides that His people are worth it… That same theme occurs over and over with God, and between God and us.
I suggest a great video, to watch the story of Jonah and about the extravagant love of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLIabZc0O4c “The Bible Project”, is really a neat way to present the Bible. The kid’s books about Jonah are not as in depth as this video… God’s message always comes with a lifetime of learning when studied at all ages. This video is like a story book drawn from the scripture but spoken, a lot of info presented at the same time. (I really liked the Jonah Sight and Sound live musical play version as well…)
The Jonah story take home message (and there are many) is that Jonah, as a prophet, was told to go to a certain place to deliver a message from God, Nineveh, but he DIDN’T want to go… so he ran away on a ship headed towards a different place. There was a giant storm and he ended up making the sailors toss him overboard to save their ship (the soldiers quickly believed in God’s power). Jonah realized that running away from God was making God chase after him... in the sea, he got swallowed by a whale, he lived 3 days in the belly! When Jonah had that time to think it over, he then told God “OK I will do whatever you tell me to do”, so the whale spit him out onto the land of the one place where the Lord want him to go originally, Nineveh…
In this place, Nineveh, Jonah thought he could just tell them the Lord’s message, that they would be overturned in 40 days and just be done with it, then went outside of town to watch destruction… but it turns out the people started to repent, the wicked people LISTENED wow, turned away from evil and listened to God, so God decided to spare them. Jonah was mad again! He wanted God to destroy the wicked people and here God showed them forgiveness, isn’t that fitting for God to be GRACE-giving. God is an extravagant generous forgiving loving God…. He is… Jesus tried to tell the world this… Jesus, thru death and resurrection, became the solution to God’s desire to bring all His children back into His Grace.
In the desert, Jonah got a small dose of relief from the hot sun by God growing a tree, just for Jonah, that grew rapidly to give him shade, and then God sent a worm to destroy the tree. Jonah was upset, he loved the shade of the tree. Then God essentially said: “look, if you loved the tree so much, then why can’t I love and forgive all the sinners and spare their lives, and the lives of their cattle too???!!!. I’m God and I can choose to LOVE and FORGIVE.”
It’s a double lesson: even if we have enemies, God loves all. We can’t wish evil on them, we are to leave them in God’s hands. We are to love our enemies and even tell them that they are loved by God.
And of course the lesson that God has a mission for us, whether we like it or not, we are to go where God needs us. He will even use storms in our lives to bring us there. And He will send us love and forgive us for our actions and thoughts, extravagantly. He loves us and first asks for our love in return. God loves all, we are all important to Him.
That’s my take on Jonah and the whale, in a nutshell…
God in a God-shell is LOVE FORGIVENESS MERCY HOPE FREEDOM OF LIFE, AND MORE…. GOD DOES NOT FIT IN A NUTSHELL!!!